Alex Morgan gave the U.S. their first lead in the 69th minute off a long pass from Megan Rapinoe. Aya Miyama leveled the game for Japan after the U.S. couldn’t clear the ball successfully in the 81st minute. Regulation ended 1-1, and the game was sent into overtime.
Abby Wambach gave the U.S. the lead again in the 104th minute, after Alex Morgan was able to make it to the end line and send in a low, hard cross. The game seemed over, and the U.S. seemingly had one hand on the trophy yet again. However, Homare Sawa scored her tournament leading fifth goal in the 117th minute with her heel off of a corner, tying the game once again, and sending it to penalties to determine the winner.
It all went wrong for the U.S. once the penalty kick shootout started. They missed their first three attempts, and Japan ended up winning the shootout 3-1. The win was Japan’s first ever World Cup trophy, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for their country. Most of Japan is still recovering physically, mentally, and economically from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit them this March.
Even though it is clearly obvious I wanted the U.S. to bring home their third World Cup victory, and first since 1999, I can’t help but to feel happy for the Japanese team. I know how much this game can inspire a country, and there was no better country for it to happen to than Japan.
Be Massive, ladies.